One of the most interesting consequences of the hectic history of Berlin are – or at least were – the many empty and abandoned spaces throughout the city: vacant land never rebuilt after the war, abandoned factories, hospitals taken by the bushes, former department stores, NSA spying bases during the Cold War are today in an interesting disrepair. After the Wall Fall in 1989 this places turned into squats or stages for clandestine Parties, where the electronic scene was born. Full with an intriguing atmosphere and surreal scenery they are definitely fun to explore.
One of these places still existing is the famous Spreepark. Inaugurated in 1969 in the former GDR as Kulturpark Plänterwald, it was the only amusement park of the former East Germany and worked quite well during decades until the Wall Fall. In 1991 it became a domain of Norbert Witte turning into the Spreepark GmbH. Despite its success at first, the park broke down in 2001 due bad administration falling into ruin. Untouched until today the place has a great captivating and bizarre look of a fantastic movie. The entrance is forbidden, but many still manage to seep in.
An important part of the Bavarian Culture, the Oktoberfest has a tradition of more than 200 years. First held as a horse race in honor to a royal wedding, the festival is currently a big party with a lot of traditional music, regional food and surly a huge consuming of beer. It is estimated that over seven million litters of beer are consumed annually during the festival.
But you don’t have to be in Munich to enjoy the party. The Oktoberfest is celebrated all around the world and, of course, in Berlin too. The German capital offers different addresses for the ones in the mood to celebrate the beginning of autumn in a really Bavarian way. Decoration in blue and white; in the menu Hendl (grilled chicken), Shweinshaxe (pork knukles) and huge Brezels; to drink the official Oktoberfest beer, Paulaner.
For those willing to get really in the mood, we give some tips on how to dress up typically. For the men the Bavarian lederhosen (leather breeches) with a white shirt. For the ladies the traditional dirndl dress over a white blouse. But there is an important detail with it: the position of the bow. If you are single, the bow should stay at your left side , if you are committed on the right and if you are a virgin – do they still exist? – in the front.
It is time to celebrate in the German way. Gather your friends, pack your bags, come to Berlin. And do not forget, if you need a cheap and central place stay, the Amstel House Hostel would be happy to host you. Take a look at our Special Offers.
From 9th to 20th of October the nights of Berlin will have a special touch. It is time for the Festival of Lights, one of the biggest illumination events in the world! During the festival more than 70 of Berlin’s most famous sightseeing, landmarks, historical buildings and memorials are illuminated by light installations and projections made by local and international artists. The TV tower, Brandenburg Gate, Berliner Dom, Olympic Stadium, Hotel Adlon and Oberbaumbrücke, between many other city buildings, become projection screens of different textures, colors and lazer illustrations, gaining an incredible and unique look.
The official center of the festival takes place in Potsdamer Platz, where visitors can find the Info Point of the event. With the mild autumn temperatures, the entire town becomes a night light colorful performance that can be seen in pleasant walks or even by guided buses. Special art and cultural events also take place during this period, such as the already traditional Music Festival Jazz in den Ministergärteb.Since its debut in 2005, the festival of lights has become one of the most popular events of the German capital, annually attracting thousands of spectators from around the world.
Cheap and central the Amstel House Hostel Berlin has special offers for the ones planning to check out the Festival of Lights. We have the perfect stay for every type of visitor. Check our options for friends, couples or families and book now.
Berlin Fotofestival 2013 presents: Wall on Wall by Kai Wiedenhöfer. A Photo exhibition on the Berlin Wall about Walls that worldwide separate people.
Over a length of 364 meters at the back of the East Side Gallery, the longest piece of the Berlin Wall still standing, 36 panoramas, each 9 x 3 m tall, to see pictures of walls from 8 regions of the world – walls that separate people, perpetuate conflicts where dialogue is necessary. The images were produced by the Berlin photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer.
Since 2006 he has photographed eight border and separation walls around the world: in Baghdad, between North and South Korea, Cyprus, between the U.S. and Mexico, between Spain and Morocco, around the Palestinian territories, in Belfast and at the former German-German border .
In 1989 Wiedenhöfer photographed as a young student the fall of the Berlin Wall. For him it was the most exciting and positive political event of his life. Like many other people at the time he believed that with the fall of the Berlin Wall other walls would be torn down too. Years later proved the opposite. Old walls were cemented; new ones were added as a result of conflict – in Europe, USA and the Middle East. Shocked and to show that walls are not a means to solve global political and economic problems of our time, Wiedenhöfer launched its long-standing gigantic wall project.
Berlin is famous for its kilometres of an exuberant street art. The strong local scene attracts artists from all around, many of them worldwide known. Here some of the most famous pictures to be seen.
The most-popular painting of the East Side Gallery The Kiss was first paint in 1990 right after the Wall Fall. Made by the Russian artists Dmitri Vladimirovich Vrubel it is a close-up of the two communists leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing, inspired by the real kiss they had in 1979 during the celebration of the 30 years of the DDR.
Blu is an Italian artist with many famous and huge works around Berlin. On many occasions between 2006 and 2009 he worked in the city, mostly in the alternative neighbourhood Kreuzberg. The first one above was a co-working with the French photographer J-R.
By Os Gêmeos
By Os gemeos / the Twins
Born in São Paulo Os Gêmeos (in Portuguese The Twins) are the best known graffiti artists in Brazil. The identical brothers consider Berlin their favorite city in Europe and left their mark on a big wall near the subway station Schlesischer Straße.
The Astronaut by Ash
The French Ash belongs to the first wave of street artists in Europe. He participated to the Backjumps exhibition in Berlin where he realized the work called astronaut / cosmonaut on a wall of a typical Kreuzberg building in the centre of Berlin.
The Teufelsberg – in German Devil’s Mountain – is one of the highest hills in Berlin. More than a great view and intriguing scenery this place owns a very unique story. It all begins with the fact that all its 115 meters high are actually artificial – a heaped up of the World War II rubble. This war garbage hills are actually quite common in Germany, but Teufelsberg buried a quite particularly bizarre leftover junk: the never completed Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer, the first architecture of the third Reich. After the war the Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier. Plant with greenery the Teufelsberg has been since then the highest hill in West Berlin.
But that’s not it. Thereafter, during the cold war, the US National Security Agency (NSA) built one of its largest listening stations on top of the hill, which proved to be the best vantage point for listening to Soviet, East German, and other Warsaw Pact nation’s military traffic. The station operate until the fall of the Berlin Wall. The equipment was then removed, but its weird structured stayed.
During the crazy 90’s in Berlin the abandoned and eccentric construction inspired the youth, which transformed the place with street art and turned it into a point for clandestine parties. Nowadays, almost always guarded by security guards, the place is still worth visiting, both for the nature that surrounds it as for the its uncommon picture.
Photographer: Kay Wiegand – www.wie-gand.com
Amstel House is a cheap hostel and the perfect place to start this and other adventures in Berlin. Take a look in our website www.amstelhouse.de
The Badeschiff is a popular swimming pool in Kreuzberg that floats over the river Spree. It was created as a city’s art project and has an incredible atmosphere. Besides the pool and the white sand beach, the provide a bar, sauna, hammock and sometimes even DJs.
Schlachtensee is a lake in the south west of Berlin on the edge of the Grunewald forest. The nature around, the transparent water and the long extension of this lake with several swimming areas makes anyone think they are really in holidays.
The Plötzensee is beautiful swimming lake located in the heart of the city. The complex offers large sunbathing area, water slide, beach slide, restaurant, playground, nude area, table tennis, football field, rope wall 20m high, trampolines, and beach volleyball facility. Beach chairs, sun loungers, deck chairs and umbrellas can be rent.
4- Krumme Lanke
This isolated lake has two bathing spots, one of theme used for nudism. A path running along the edge of the lake is also popular with joggers and walkers.
5- Freibad Jungfernheide
Spend your holiday in Berlin! Only ten minutes from the Kurfürstendamm and right at the hard of west Berlin, this lake is a small paradise.